Where are the people? Why don’t they flock here?
I just read Colin Ellard’s Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life because I saw a reference to his studies, which measure how buildings and landscapes affect our bodies and minds, our thoughts and emotions. He famously tracked persons’ stress levels as they encountered blank and forbidding urban scenes versus human-scaled and interesting ones. Blank and forbidding facades increase cortisol and stress. Varied and humane ones trigger dopamine. Continue Reading
One of the great things about being in San Antonio is that they have 300+ years of history and a city archaeoligist. My years at Global Heritage Fund brought me into contact with a lot of archaeologists, just at a time in history when the field was being revolutionized by LIDAR, ground-penetrating radar and all sorts of other high-tech options that allowed us to evolve beyond simply digging things up, which is inherently destructive. Here is a blog about LIDAR from a little over a year ago. I also did a lecture at the Pacific Union Club a while back on the latest in archaeological technology, and another blog last year titled Heritage in the Age of Virtual Reconstruction. Continue Reading
Who doesn’t adore their own adolescent brain?
Eight years ago I wrote a blog with this title, to remind us that we often think our way past reality. Despite our ongoing technological revolution the human mind still has a series of fallback postures that fail to perceive reality but instead distort it – simplify it, really – to make it fit into categories more satisfying to our adolescent brains. Continue Reading
“I must protest against the dismemberment of Chautauqua.”
- Letter to William Rainey Harper from John Heyl Vincent, 4 July 1899.
I stumbled across this nugget while researching other matters regarding George Vincent and William Rainey Harper, the first President of the University of Chicago. Vincent’s father John Heyl Vincent was a founder of Chautauqua, which as you may know, is a place in New York state that evolved from a Sunday School into a nationwide educational movement. Continue Reading
Temple of Bel, Palmyra, Syria. BEFORE.
I was going to write this blog on Saturday when I heard the legendary Harold Kalman speak at the National Trust for Canada conference in Calgary. I had the honor of being the opening keynote speaker on Thursday night, and Harold won at least two awards on Friday night, including one for lifetime achievement. Notwithstanding his elder statesman role, he had some keen insights into where heritage is in 2015, and the keenest came when he answered the inevitable question. Continue Reading
Last week. Maybe next week too.
It has been 13 months since I last blogged about the Farnsworth House (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1951). In that blog I detailed the various options that had been studied to try to conserve the house despite the increased flooding of the Fox River at its location near Plano, Illinois. Continue Reading
Small agricultural plots in Dali Dong village, Guizhou
Later this month I will be heading to Associazone Canova in Italy to participate in the 14th Annual Architectural Encounter so I am thinking about the future of architecture.
My three years in Silicon Valley have demonstrated the revolutionary transformation of human interaction and the infrastructure of our environment: the landscapes, pathways, and buildings we inhabit. The App Age of Über and Airbnb and Google has reprogrammed our normal relationship to goods; services, and to space itself. Interviews are carried out in coffee shops, coffee shops are in libraries, homes are hotels, cars are taxis and even clothing may not have a single owner. Clients are no longer fixed but fluid, and the key design element for future resilience will be in fact fluidity: the space, the plot, the wall or the wearable that can adjust to the next radical disruption.
As a human society we are arguably moving away from the settled lifestyle we pioneered 11,000 years ago when we shifted from hunting and gathering to agriculture. Continue Reading
The problem here was not water.
We had a great panel discussion at the Legion of Honor last night and one moment that stood out to me was when I asked the four achaeologists to each describe a particular conservation challenge at their sites. Dr. John Rick of Stanford, who works at Chavín de Huántar in Peru, talked about the challenge of water on the site. Water is indeed one of the greatest challenges to preservation – the Chicago photographer/preservationist Richard Nickel famously said that old buildings have only two enemies: water and stupid men. Continue Reading
Last week in Colorado I showed two slides of the Farnsworth House, which I have been blogging about for a dozen years. The first image came in the section of my talk about the Threats to our Heritage, such as Climate Change. I had also showed images of it earlier in the week, when I participated in a Climate Change and Cultural Heritage conference in Pocantico, New York, with a whole variety of players, from colleagues at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, Society for American Archaeology, World Monuments Fund, English Heritage and many other, collected together by the Union of Concerned Scientists. So here is the first slide, which is Farnsworth House experiencing a “100-year” flood for the first of three times in the last eight years. Continue Reading
We live in the era of the selfie, and like any trend, there is a plethora of pundits and pontificators prattling purposefully about the privations of said practice. Time Tells reminds you that everyone worries about everything when it is new, but if you look closely you see it isn’t.
A quarter century ago I did this thing where I took my picture in front of heritage sites with my arms raised high in the air. Yes, we had selfies back then even if we had to get someone else to take them, or use the timer that those old-fashioned cameras all had. Continue Reading